8. Pitch

Pitch, Loudness and Timbre

The mechanism of human hearing does not operate as a perfect scientific instrument. In this chapter we relate a few subjective measurements of sound (things people report after hearing a sound) to objective, scientific measurements (measurements made in a laboratory using scientific instruments). The three subjective quantities of pitch, loudness and timbre are related to laboratory measurements of a sound wave’s fundamental frequency, amplitude and waveform, respectively.

Key Terms:

Pitch, fundamental frequencyv = f λ, loudness, sound intensity (in W/m2), sound intensity level (SIL in dB), decibels (dB), inverse square law, just noticeable difference (loudness and frequency), timbre.

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